Why does my cat sniff my eye?
June 29, 2007 4:43 PM   Subscribe

My cat loves to smell my eye.

So I guess my question is, "Uh, huh?"

Whenever my face is near my cat's face, she invariably gently nudges her nose into my eye, and sniffs around for several seconds. She has done this for years and years, I think ever since she was a kitten.

Is this a "cat" thing, or a "my cat" thing? If it's a "cat" thing, why do they do it?
posted by Flunkie to Pets & Animals (14 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
It's a cat thing. They like to sniff or lick eyelids of smart people to get at their brains. I had a cat that used to do this.
posted by frecklefaerie at 5:08 PM on June 29, 2007 [7 favorites]

maybe she's attracted to the salt in your tears. or maybe she likes the flutter of your lashes when you blink.
posted by thinkingwoman at 5:16 PM on June 29, 2007

If I remember correctly - cats snuggle noses to display affection for/with each other. My cat likes to shove his giant face into mine while I'm sleeping.
posted by revmitcz at 5:46 PM on June 29, 2007

Yes, I've had this happen also. I think they are just curious.
posted by uni verse at 5:49 PM on June 29, 2007

Our kitties do that too. Why, I don't know.
posted by echolalia67 at 6:07 PM on June 29, 2007

I think cats have pheromone glands in their faces that they use when communicating with other cats. Maybe he's looking for yours? (I have no idea what a human eye smells like to a cat, but maybe it's just different enough from the rest of your face that he thinks that's where your scent glands are?)
posted by Kadin2048 at 6:59 PM on June 29, 2007

Cats lick their wounds, but not ones on their heads, of course, so their pals have to do it for them. My giant old tom cat Alex got abscesses on his eyelids quite a few times from infected scratches he picked up fighting-- which I had to pop since it was worth your life to try to get him to the vet after that first time. He was just amazingly patient with this procedure (which I hated). He would meow for it, in fact.

Your loving cat is simply checking things out to see if you could use a little of her help, I think.
posted by jamjam at 7:13 PM on June 29, 2007

Your cat does this for the same reasons that one of mine tries to forcibly stuff his snout into my mouth every morning and his brother gives me running headbutts right in my eye: a) because she's a cat. b) because she can c) she's sweet on you.
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 7:30 PM on June 29, 2007 [1 favorite]

I had one that liked to lick photos. Do you have contacts? Could be the chemical?
posted by arh07 at 8:15 PM on June 29, 2007

It's a "your cat" thing. My own dear, departed Rowley loved to snuggle her head into my armpits, and I'd often find her rolling around in my sweaty gym shirts as though I secreted catnip. My current foster loves necks and ears.

Cats enjoy a maternal relationship with their owners. Your eye gook just happens to be her favorite part of you.
posted by freshwater_pr0n at 8:15 PM on June 29, 2007

Because eyeballs taste like Whisker Lickins?

My childhood cat did this a lot. If she was snuggly, she would eventually crawl up your chest (if you were lying down) and put her snout in the corner of your eye and just sniff sniff sniff.

It's because they're insane.
posted by tastybrains at 8:55 PM on June 29, 2007

I've had cats interested in the smells from parts of my body before, but never my eye. But I've got two anecdotes involving dogs: my SO's dad has three dogs, the eldest of whom gets growths on her eye that the male llcks and worries at (while the other female just gets jealous); and my own little mutt, if given half a chance, will stick his snout in my open mouth with an interested or sometimes concerned expression (when he seems especially worried I figure it's time to call a real dentist, e.g., once it turned out I had to have a molar pulled). Is there something wrong with your eye or maybe the sinuses behind it? Do you have allergies, wear contacts, something?
posted by davy at 11:14 PM on June 29, 2007

My cat does this exact same thing. Right in the eyeball. Sometimes I will be sleeping and she will just be WAITING for me to wake up so that she can stick her wet nose in my eyeball—not the lids, not the lashes, the EYEBALL. I don't get it either. But I've been wondering for ages. Thanks for asking.
posted by iamkimiam at 11:35 PM on June 29, 2007

Maybe she sees her reflection and thinks there is another cat?
posted by zaphod at 4:01 PM on June 30, 2007

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